Drivers at Dublin Bus would receive increases of nearly 15 per cent in some cases over a number of years in return for significant changes in work practices under a proposed new deal with management, trade unions have said.
Under the plan, which would run up to 2025, drivers who have traditionally been assigned or “marked-in” for one or two particular routes could in future be asked to drive various services operating from their garage.
The proposals are aimed at facilitating the introduction of the Bus Connects transport reform plan in Dublin and to increase the company's competitiveness ahead of the expiry of its existing contract with the National Transport Authority in 2024 and the potential for additional routes to be put out to tender.
The proposal has been backed by the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and Siptu.
However, the plan has been opposed by some drivers at Dublin Bus. They are understood to be unhappy about having to drive different routes while some are believed to have concerns that the proposals could increase the time they have to spend driving within their 39-hour week.
The proposals would see the introduction of a new composite pay rate of €23.50 per hour from next October, which would incorporate shift and premium payments for about 1,700 drivers with a five-over-seven-day contract – meaning they work two Sundays out of every five. This would equate to about €916 for a 39-hour week.
Unions maintained that drivers on such an arrangement at the top of their scale could earn up to €51,500 annually, excluding bonuses.
As part of the proposals, drivers with longer service – more than 20, 30 and 40 years – will receive additional annual leave.
The number of uncertificated sick days per year will also increase from four to five.
Under proposed changes to holidays, in future two rather than three weeks will be allocated during the summer with another week to be taken in the spring or winter.
Safe driving bonus
There will also be improvements to existing bonus arrangements. The payment under the attendance bonus scheme would increase from €250 to €500 tax-free while the safe driving bonus would rise from €250 tax-free to €575 taxable.
In a joint statement to members on Sunday, the NBRU and Siptu said while they did not like elements in the proposal that impacted on drivers, they had secured significant guaranteed pay rises and improvements in the terms of the bonus schemes.
The unions said the proposals would go to a ballot of members and that they were “not ramming them down the throats” of drivers .
They warned, however, of potential adverse consequences if the proposals were rejected.
“It is true that no union can give guarantees around winning future tenders for current and/or new Dublin routes. We can say, however, that Dublin Bus’s chances of winning future tendering competitions will be severely diminished, if not holed below the waterline, if it remains as it currently operates. That is not scaremongering, that is just trying to spell it out.”